Noontime News is a snapshot of the news from the past 24 hours.  (More)

US Congress approves $9.7bn in hurricane Sandy aid package

The US House of Representatives voted in favour of a $9bn package to fund insurance claims arising from hurricane Sandy on Friday, but only after a quarter of Republican congress members – including the former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan – voted against the legislation.

Barack Obama signals hard line in debt ceiling talks with Republicans

President Barack Obama signalled on Saturday that he would be pushing a hard line in future talks with Republicans over the looming issue of raising America’s debt ceiling.

Pakistan schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai discharged from hospital

Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban, has been discharged from the Birmingham hospital where she was being treated.

White House Plans To Overwhelm NRA With Rapid Victory

The White House and gun control supporters are gearing up for a whirlwind month, with plans to pass reform legislation before outrage over the Sandy Hook massacre has a chance to fade.

Alta Devices Unveils Highest-Efficiency Wearable Solar Charger For The Military

Almost a year after the U.S. government first certified Alta Devices as having created the highest efficiency solar panel in existence yet, the innovative California clean energy startup on Friday unveiled its first product: A flexible, extremely lightweight and fully portable solar charging mat designed for the U.S. military, which also achieves the highest efficiency of any such solar portable charging device used by the armed forces.

Diminishing Prospects For The Long-Term Unemployed

The latest figures show December was another month of steady, moderate job growth. But for many people still struggling with long-term unemployment, the situation hasn’t actually changed much at all.

Often Written Off, Biden Has Long List Of Deals To His Name

When President Obama finally announced a fiscal cliff agreement late Tuesday night, he thanked several people who had worked to get a deal.

The first one he mentioned by name was the man standing next to him at the podium: “my extraordinary vice president, Joe Biden.”

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